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Daily Links: Highsmith Throws First Pitch, Steelers Streak in Jeopardy?



Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers will see their 19-year streak of not having a losing season snapped in 2023. Gagnon has the Steelers going under their projected 8.5 win total with seven.

“I hate doing this because it’s been two decades since the well-coached, defensively stout Steelers have posted a losing record. But every trend has an end, and this division might overwhelm a Pittsburgh team that has major questions on offense,” Gagnon wrote.

According to BetMGM,  91% of bets and 98% of the money is on the Steelers to go OVER their win total in 2023 (8.5).

RELATED: Saunders: The Truth About Mike Tomlin and His Streak

🏈 Shortly after signing his 4-year, $68 million contract extension, Alex Highsmith threw out the first pitch at the Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park.

🏈 The 33rd Team ranked Diontae Johnson as the ninth-best route runner in the NFL.

“Diontae Johnson is a little different than Pittsburgh’s last prolific wide receiver, Antonio Brown, but he shares an important attribute: quickness and acceleration in and out of his breaks, which is just as important as a receiver’s ability to accelerate is an ability to decelerate. Few players hit the brakes on intermediate routes as well as Johnson,” the 33rd Team’s Andy Benoit wrote.

🏈 Bet MGM revealed that the Steelers are the most bet on team to win the AFC North, accounting for 33% of all tickets coming in at the time. The team currently has the worst odds to win the division at +500.

🏈 With training camp starting next week, Diontae Johnson is getting in some last minute work with the “Route God” down in Florida.

🏈 Ben Wolbranksy of the 33rd Team thinks Kenny Pickett will throw for over 3,330.5 yards this season.

“Pickett was on pace to pass for more than 3,500 yards last season. With an improved offensive line and top receiving core of Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth, George Pickens and Allen Robinson, the Steelers’ passing offense should take a step forward,” Wolbranksy wrote. “Pittsburgh finished with 3,411 yards passing last season. A full, healthy season of Pickett in an improved offense should yield more than that. At his ADP, we’d expect Pickett to finish around 3,500 yards.”

🎂 Happy Birthday to former Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels, born on July 20, 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Samuels was selected by the Steelers in the fifth round out of North Carolina State in the 2018 NFL Draft. In three seasons with the Steelers from 2018-2020, Samuels rushed for 459 yards on 131 carries (3.5 average) and one touchdown. His standout moment in Pittsburgh was when he rushed for 142 yards on 19 carries (7.4 average) in the Steelers’ 17-10 win over the New England Patriots in 2018. Samuels had a short stint with the Houston Texans in 2021 after getting waived from the Steelers’ practice squad. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Arizona Cardinals in January of 2022, but was released on May 31. Samuels sat out the entire 2022 season and remains unsigned. 

Former Steelers owner Dan Rooney was born on this date in 1932. By early 1969, Rooney was managing the day-to-day operations of the team and personally selected the coaching hire of Chuck Noll. He also hired Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin. Noll and Cowher are already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Tomlin should join them someday, as well. Rooney was appointed team president in 1975 and was officially given full operational control of the franchise. Rooney is credited by many as being the main force to changing the culture of the Steelers from perennial losers to champions.

🎥 With Alex Highsmith signing a four-year contract extension, the official NFL Twitter account posted his five forced fumbles in 2022, which was tied for the league lead.

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